Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola is adamant his “prestige” in English Premier League is down to players, as he defends his squad after a shocking 3-2 defeat to Norwich City on Saturday.
The champions received their first league since January on Saturday, when newly promoted side, Norwich took them on a 3-2 surprise at Carrow Road.
The absence of Aymeric Laporte through injury was definitely felt, with the third objective of Norwich coming as a consequence of a mix between John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.
City’s defeat leaves them five points behind leaders Liverpool after five matches, but Guardiola – whose style of play was questioned at times during his first season in England – jumped to the defence of his players, claiming he will only be concerned if his side stop caring after a defeat.
“They [the players] gave me all the prestige I have in England, when the first season when it was ‘fraud’ Guardiola, ‘Fraudiola’,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“This kind of game here in England – it’s not possible to play because you need to have tackles and you have to play like that – these players gave me the prestige that I have.
“And now all around the world people say how good a manager I am. So, it’s for them, not for me.
“In the moment where they don’t care about losing the game, when they don’t care about absolutely anything, that would be a problem.
“But I know how they suffer, because in the past when we don’t win, they haven’t done that. What do we have to do? Work harder, work more, talk more, be more precise.
“Start winning games and winning games and winning games and in the end, if we are not able [to win the title], then we will congratulate the opponent.”
Guardiola elected to start with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench against the Canaries, despite the playmaker’s excellent start to the season.
Although Liverpool already hold a commanding lead at the top, De Bruyne has issued a reminder that City were seven points behind the Reds deep into last season.
“Last season we were seven points behind – it happens. Of course, we want to win every game, but it is difficult,” De Bruyne said.
“It will be tough, the next seven months, like last year. It never stops. It is our job and sometimes it is hard, but you have to take it on the chin.
“We lost four games out of 38 last season and that is a good record. We can still win this season with the same points at the end of this season.”